or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › JCPenney ad apologizes for changes made by former CEO Ron Johnson
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

JCPenney ad apologizes for changes made by former CEO Ron Johnson

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
A TV ad released this week by JCPenney asks customers to "come back" to the department store, alluding to heavy losses suffered from sweeping changes made by ousted CEO and former Apple executive Ron Johnson.



The 30-second spot, posted to the company's Facebook and YouTube pages, atones for the recent changes believed to be the reason for a steep decline in sales, which resulted in a $12.99 billion year-over-year decline in revenue for fiscal 2012.

During his tenure at JCPenney, Johnson, who was the driving force behind Apple's hugely successful brick-and-mortar Apple Store retail chain, made a number of substantial tweaks to the department store's business model. The initiatives, such as bans on sale pricing and the promotion of trendy products in "stores-within-a-store," fell flat.

Under Johnson's one year with JCPenney, sales fell 25 percent and the company posting a net loss of $985 million. As a result, he was fired in April, with Mike Ullman, who Johnson replaced in 2011, called back to his post as chief executive.

Voice over from the commercial:

It?s no secret, recently J.C. Penney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn?t, but what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you, to hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful. Come back to J.C. Penney. We heard you.


While short ad appears to lambast Johnson's decisions post facto, according to Bloomberg, the commercial was made under his watch. The publication cites JCPenney spokesman Joey Thomas as saying development of the commercial began a few months ago as a result of poor customer feedback.

With Apple in need of a senior vice president of retail, speculation has abounded regarding Johnson's possible return to the Cupertino company. For now, retail operations will continue to be directly managed by CEO Tim Cook with help from Apple's vice president of finance Jim Bean.
post #2 of 80
"Sorry we tried to treat our customers as if they had brains. We are now going back to fooling you with raised prices and discount coupons. We will be starting bingo soon too."

p.s. Tim, bring Ron home.
Edited by digitalclips - 5/1/13 at 6:51pm
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
post #3 of 80
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
Sorry we tried to treat our customers as if they had brains. We are now going back to fooling you with raised prices and discounts coupons.

 

I came here to say exactly the same thing.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #4 of 80
The only mistake that Ron Johnson made, as pointed out by Ken Segall, was that he eliminated coupons & sales before the stores were remodeled. So from the cheap-a** customer's point of view, nothing had yet changed at JC Penney's except for the elimination of their beloved coupons & sales. Ron should have remodeled all the stores into world-class experiences first, then eliminated coupons & sales afterwards. However, this still doesn't forgive the fact that all the customers of JC Penney are extremely dumb and stupid.
post #5 of 80
Johnson made too many changes too fast. The expectations of his wizardry were too high. He needed two or three years to make it work. Soft goods don't sell like computers......Especially in a slow economy!
Too bad. I knew it wouldn't work
post #6 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I came here to say exactly the same thing.

Hey wait till I correct my Gin & Tonic screwed up English will ya! LOL
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
post #7 of 80
p.s. What a terrible ad. That company is so horribly messed up. Ron Johnson could've saved them, but they didn't give him enough time.
post #8 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

The only mistake that Ron Johnson made, as pointed out by Ken Segall, was that he eliminated coupons & sales before the stores were remodeled. So from the cheap-a** customer's point of view, nothing had yet changed at JC Penney's except for the elimination of their beloved coupons & sales. Ron should have remodeled all the stores into world-class experiences first, then eliminated coupons & sales afterwards. However, this still doesn't forgive the fact that all the customers of JC Penney are extremely dumb and stupid.

In JCP's defense, their store is very useful for us here in Sarasota, FL as we can park outside it easily as their area is usually empty and cut through to the rest of the Mall. 1biggrin.gif
Edited by digitalclips - 5/1/13 at 7:00pm
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
post #9 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

"Sorry we tried to treat our customers as if they had brains. We are now going back to fooling you with raised prices and discount coupons. We will be starting bingo soon too."

p.s. Tim, bring Ron home.

Some people just don't like change, especially a drastic one. The successful invention of one thing does not mean it'll lead to a successful reinvention of another.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #10 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Some people just don't like change, especially a drastic one. The successful invention of one thing does not mean it'll lead to a successful reinvention of another.

I don't disagree. As others have said they didn't give it enough time IMHO. But ... after all is said and done Ron should be flogged for leaving Apple then forgiven and brought back. The Apple model is not easy to duplicate for all the reasons we all know here on AI.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
post #11 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

p.s. What a terrible ad. That company is so horribly messed up. Ron Johnson could've saved them, but they didn't give him enough time.

He expedited their decline, for how much longer did you expect them to accept such a drop in sales? How many here want Tim Cook's head for running a successful company with record sales?
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #12 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
p.s. Tim, bring Ron home.

That would be an unmitigated disaster.

 

The guy's career is finished. If Apple can't find anyone internally to fill the role, it's a major (HR) failure on Johnson's part (before he left Apple). 

post #13 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

The only mistake that Ron Johnson made....

The only mistake?! Have you even been reading the news?

post #14 of 80
Ron is not CEO material. He had 2 years and cut 43k jobs and no bottom in sight. There is a reason so few Executives are CEO/Chairman material. So few have true vision and fewer yet stick to it.

People truly don't get that Apple Executives were managed heavily by Steve. He never hesitated to tell each and everyone of these egos that they are effin' up and need to show more or hit the door.

People bent to Steve's vision and will, not the other way around. He helped create a lot of people who then left thinking it was all them. There is a reason so few people from Apple actually go on to be huge successes in their own start ups. They never had that 1% vision to lead.

Great talents each in their own rights, but never seem to grasp they never had `it' in the first place.

The same goes for Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Sun, SGI, you name executives doing their own start ups.

Technically brilliant, artistically brilliant to managerially talented but never about vision.

Steve bounced ideas constantly off of brilliant people in a hope to get a symbiotic relationship built. He had very few of those and those he did have he had for very specific roles at Apple.

Tim Cook leaving Apple to start his own business would ultimately be a disaster as well. Bertrand or Avi's own start ups will amount to nothing beyond getting some technology bought out.

Ron should have stayed at Apple. He peaked at Apple.
post #15 of 80
JC Penny does have a clean layout, very organized. I don't know what their problem is. I was never much of a JC Penny customer to begin with, but they do have a very clean store to go into.
post #16 of 80
So they brought back the CEO they fired to bring RJ in for, right?

So jcpenny's plan is

Failing business. Fire CEO and bring in that Apple retail guy

Apple retail guy shakes things up. The few remaining customers we had don't like it (and we don't know if we will get new customers, because we didn't give it enough time)

Fire that Apple guy

Bring back old CEO

Beg customers to come back. Saying, "don't worry! We will return to our old failing business model with our old failing ceo"

Sounds like a plan.
post #17 of 80

The Apple premium model will never work in a department store. He should have known that from the start (too much time in a RDF). The premium model works for Apple because Apple is a brand and they have high loyalty and strict control over distribution and pricing.

 

Why would people pay $50 more for a product at JCP's store-within-a-store, when they can in 4 minutes walk to the other department store and buy the EXACT product for less?

 

JCP is not a product like Apple. JCP sells other peoples' products.

Apple is also very inelastic and as shown by JCP "mistake" what they sell is very very elastic.

post #18 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post

So they brought back the CEO they fired to bring RJ in for, right?

So jcpenny's plan is

Failing business. Fire CEO and bring in that Apple retail guy

Apple retail guy shakes things up. The few remaining customers we had don't like it (and we don't know if we will get new customers, because we didn't give it enough time)

Fire that Apple guy

Bring back old CEO

Beg customers to come back. Saying, "don't worry! We will return to our old failing business model with our old failing ceo"

Sounds like a plan.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post

So they brought back the CEO they fired to bring RJ in for, right?

So jcpenny's plan is

Failing business. Fire CEO and bring in that Apple retail guy

Apple retail guy shakes things up. The few remaining customers we had don't like it (and we don't know if we will get new customers, because we didn't give it enough time)

Fire that Apple guy

Bring back old CEO

Beg customers to come back. Saying, "don't worry! We will return to our old failing business model with our old failing ceo"

Sounds like a plan.

 

 

LOL!

 

What's so sad is that JCP couldn't find anyone more qualified to take the job than their last, failing CEO. I guess when you are the Titanic, not many people want to work there.

post #19 of 80

So... they didn't give Johnson nearly enough time to turn the Titanic around and shift an entire brand... then booted him and put JCPenney not in the hands of someone new, but in the original hands that were sinking the ship to begin with. Then they apologize to the passengers and promise a return to their former course of doom :p

 

Meanwhile, my only real gripe with JCPenney concerns clueless and terrible staff--and although I blame Johnson in part for not fixing that, it's certainly not the result of Johnson's plan (in fact it would seem to be the antithesis). If the staff now rapidly become more able to answer questions and do basic things (like ring up an order without making you roam for miles looking for signs of life) ...then I'll consider saying it was all Johnson's fault. And I'll still give Johnson credit for the no-games pricing that I found genuinely appealing.

 

(Would be cool to see him back at Apple.)

 

EDIT: Great minds think alike, AZREO!

post #20 of 80
The thing I've never understood about JCP is how they're trying to position themselves. They're not high end, and they're not the bargain bin. What are they? They're not communicating it to me.

Lets look at competitors. Walmart (which sells clothes and many similar items) is clearly the bargain bin. Kohls is basically the same. Target is tells me they are different and a little better, but still affordable. Macy's is "high end".

Where is JCP? Are they trying to be Target? If so, they should have taken a memo from Target's quirky ads and communicated the value they bring.

I have the same problem with Kmart. What are they?

Both are struggling and have zero mindshare (although Kmart's latest ads are clever, I still don't know what they are or why I should go there). Neither register when I'm thinking of where to shop.

Positioning is marketing 101 but is often poorly executed.
post #21 of 80

In nine months JCP will close. Forever XXI will purchase the leases of many of the stores,

Cubist
Reply
Cubist
Reply
post #22 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

p.s. Tim, bring Ron home.
Gotta love people who think that buying an Apple computer makes them part of the Apple family.

But more on topic, this kind of psychotic brand loyalty is exactly why Johnson could never save JC Penney regardless of how much time he has. Apple fanatics misguidedly feel that they are part of the Apple Company and are insanely loyal to them, but people who shop at Penney's don't care about the company and will support the store that offers them the best prices that week. So his idea of bringing Apple Store's success to a department store was doomed for failure from the start. There just aren't enough nut cases out there who consider Penney's to be their "home".
post #23 of 80
I still can't believe the board would allow Johnson to change pricing before he had the stores redesigned. He should have worked on revamping the stores first and implement no sale/coupon pricing in the redesigned shops as they went live.
post #24 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

The only mistake that Ron Johnson made, as pointed out by Ken Segall, was that he eliminated coupons & sales before the stores were remodeled. So from the cheap-a** customer's point of view, nothing had yet changed at JC Penney's except for the elimination of their beloved coupons & sales. Ron should have remodeled all the stores into world-class experiences first, then eliminated coupons & sales afterwards. However, this still doesn't forgive the fact that all the customers of JC Penney are extremely dumb and stupid.
So people who use coupons and shops for things on sale are dumb and stupid. 1oyvey.gif
post #25 of 80

Oooooh Ron Johnson. Oh Don Piano.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #26 of 80
Originally Posted by city View Post
In nine months JCP will close. Forever XXI will purchase the leases of many of the stores,

 

If there's one thing I can remember from the last year, it's to never underestimate the stubbornness of stupid people. RIM's not bankrupt yet.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #27 of 80
Interesting how JC Penney has sacrificed the potential of a long and prosperous future for immediate ... uuummmm... stability of failure.

I can only assume that many Android proponents shop at JC Penney with five finger discounts.
post #28 of 80
I think this just shows that Apple's success made Johnson, and not the other way around. You just can't argue with a 25% drop in sales under his tenure. He clearly screwed up. It doesn't matter if it was because the no coupon thing before the remodel or whatever other reason it's bleeding. It's clearly is a lack of execution.
post #29 of 80

Johnson was also pretty much responsible for Target's resurgence--so Apple didn't really make him (although that was an even bigger success, of course).

 

I thought his ideas for JCP were actually quite good and intriguing.  If he would have had time to implement his brand store-within-a-store idea completely, I think JCP would have been an awesome place to shop.  However, it would have been competing in the same league as GAP or Old Navy or Banana Republic style stores.  For example, JCP's Levis store was completely awesome--an absolutely huge selection of styles and sizes (about 3 times the size of their previous offerings), fitting rooms within that single store-within-a-store itself, and a sales person just for that store-within-a-store.  

 

JCP was losing money pretty fast before they brought Johnson on because they were/are effectively competing against cheaper stores like WalMart, but don't have much of anything better to offer customers.  JCP customers are low-end spenders (in general), and Johnson was trying to switch those customers out for more spendy customers like those who shop at GAP, etc. (because that's where the money is).  His idea was basically, make a GAP-like store, except make it huge (JCPs are generally quite large), make it really easy to find specific brands, make it really convenient (helpful sales clerks everywhere with specific knowledge of their "store", dressing rooms everywhere, etc.), and cater to higher-end customers who spend a lot (e.g., that's why they were catering to the gay community).  

 

The brands that had the store-within-a-stores already implemented loved it.  They were seeing double the revenues they were having previously.  Unfortunately, only about 15% of JCP floor space was dedicated to those store-within-a-stores when Johnson was forced out.

 

It's actually quite a brilliant plan, but 2 things happened to kill it.  The first was Johnson's mistake--he alienated the current customer base much too quickly.  Sales cratered outside of the store-within-a-stores and that's like 85% of your floor space without many sales.  He should not have cancelled the coupons/sales until, as others have said, more of his plan was implemented.  The second was that the JCP board didn't give him enough time.  As more store-within-a-stores were coming online, year-over-year sales would start improving as revenues increased, but they panicked and forced him out.  In another year, I suspect, things would have been fine because you would have had double or more of the high-revenue floor space, and year-over-year sales would have been looking quite good when compared to the crappy previous year.

 

Long-term, JCP is effectively dead now (not that it's a huge loss).  

 

I actually think Johnson has a good head for the business.  He just misjudged the customers and the amount of time he had to pull it off.

post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronstark View Post

Johnson made too many changes too fast. The expectations of his wizardry were too high. He needed two or three years to make it work. Soft goods don't sell like computers......Especially in a slow economy!
Too bad. I knew it wouldn't work

That's BS. Johnson failed because NO organization can change from the inside out without a complete rebuild of the entire staff top to bottom. As long there are old school staffers in that place Johnson's job was doomed. It had an old board of directors - standard retail philosophy -- he needed a much larger house cleaning to achieve the major overhaul he attempted to pull off. I've seen these scenario play out in the entertainment biz a gazillion times. Classic power struggle of the old vs the new - where the old dig in their heels and thwart the change -- poisonous environment.. He tried.. Doomed to fail. Apple operates by a totally different mindset. What sucks is he was sandbagged. Maybe he's not so smart.. ??!
post #31 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


So people who use coupons and shops for things on sale are dumb and stupid. 1oyvey.gif

 

No.  People who stop shopping at a store because they start selling $30 items for $30 instead of $50 with a 40% off! coupon are dumb and stupid.

 

Frankly, I'd say that JCP screwed up this "transition back" with this ad.  Just start mailing people their beloved coupons again.  There is no need to apologize for not having had them for a year or so.  This just makes them look weak and desperate.

 

They even changed their logo and slogan again.  So JCP customers shouldn't expect a "square deal" any more?

post #32 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That would be an unmitigated disaster.

The guy's career is finished. If Apple can't find anyone internally to fill the role, it's a major (HR) failure on Johnson's part (before he left Apple). 

That's pathetic. Why would it be a bad idea to rehire Ron? He made changes too fast without any pilot problems. Learn and improve.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

People truly don't get that Apple Executives were managed heavily by Steve. He never hesitated to tell each and everyone of these egos that they are effin' up and need to show more or hit the door.

People bent to Steve's vision and will, not the other way around. He helped create a lot of people who then left thinking it was all them. There is a reason so few people from Apple actually go on to be huge successes in their own start ups. They never had that 1% vision to lead.
.

Steve didn't have time to micromanage all the execs. I don't know where you got that idea. He was brilliant but wasn't God. Why would Jobs hire empty suits? Ron came up with the Genius Bar and store layout. To minimize his contributions is foolish.
post #33 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urkel View Post


Gotta love people who think that buying an Apple computer makes them part of the Apple family.

But more on topic, this kind of psychotic brand loyalty is exactly why Johnson could never save JC Penney regardless of how much time he has. Apple fanatics misguidedly feel that they are part of the Apple Company and are insanely loyal to them, but people who shop at Penney's don't care about the company and will support the store that offers them the best prices that week. So his idea of bringing Apple Store's success to a department store was doomed for failure from the start. There just aren't enough nut cases out there who consider Penney's to be their "home".

 

If I had been a loyal JCP shopper for nearly 30 years and suffered through the lean years when people didn't get why I thought the JCP experience was just plain better and was long-term JCP stockholder and an active participant for a decade or so on JCPInsider and JCPNN, then I probably would consider myself "part of the JCP family."  Loyalty and a sense of community are not easily created or granted.

 

Nah, what I am I saying, of course I'm just a misguided fanatic nut case.

post #34 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fideux View Post

So, are they still pro gay and homosexual behavior, same sex marriage etc or did they come to their senses on that issue? Hey idiots, sometimes, it's better not to take sides on an issue, and to just remain neutral.

Come to their senses? Really? You do know that the future generations won't put up with homophobia. Hell the shift is already starting to change rapidly on this issue. Those opposed will be on the wrong side of history like those opposed to civil rights previously
post #35 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


In JCP's defense, their store is very useful for us here in Sarasota, FL as we can park outside it easily as their area is usually empty and cut through to the rest of the Mall. 1biggrin.gif

 

That'd be what Sears does for my local mall. Always tons of parking near that entrance.

post #36 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

 

They even changed their logo and slogan again.  So JCP customers shouldn't expect a "square deal" any more?

 

Yeah, I noticed that during that shitty "sorry" commercial. Ron really tried to clean house and brought with him from Apple several people loyal to him to fill some of the other top spots. I forget the numbers but he checked on the servers at JCP to see how many hours the home office staff was using their computers to play Farmville on facebook. It was an amazingly huge number of man-hours (like a five-digit number of man-hours a month). 

 

JC Penny meet FW Woolworth...

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
post #37 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleach123 View Post

For example, JCP's Levis store was completely awesome--an absolutely huge selection of styles and sizes (about 3 times the size of their previous offerings),

 

They were seeing double the revenues they were having previously.  

 

Hmm, three times the space for only double the revenue?  Doesn't sound that good.

censored

Reply

censored

Reply
post #38 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

That would be an unmitigated disaster.

The guy's career is finished. If Apple can't find anyone internally to fill the role, it's a major (HR) failure on Johnson's part (before he left Apple). 
Indeed. Cook is apparently gun shy after the Browett fiasco.
post #39 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Hmm, three times the space for only double the revenue?  Doesn't sound that good.

I think he meant selection by size. Or sizes. In other words, actually having the size and style you are looking for, like the gap often does, so you don't end up going somewhere else because you couldn't find your size.
post #40 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by malta View Post

The Apple premium model will never work in a department store.

Neimann Marcus begs to differ.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › JCPenney ad apologizes for changes made by former CEO Ron Johnson